Think about how much reading you are doing each day. Perhaps you read the daily news, wake up to countless emails from colleagues, and continue your day with reports, proposals, periodicals, and even personal mail. To top it off, you have textbooks waiting for you when you return home. You might be wondering if you will ever just get the time to read for pure fun. Are you struggling to keep up? You’re not alone! The truth is, a lot of us are. Here are five tips you can take to speed up your reading pace while simultaneously improving your efficiency (an added bonus).
1. Trace Your Steps
Believe it or not, your eyes do not always stay fixed in one spot. They frequently make brief twitches away from the center of focus, causing them to have to relocate previous positions. These are called saccades. Saccades are quick, simultaneous movements of both eyes within the same direction. Although it may seem very basic, the actual solution to these distractions is to use a pointer (usually the tip of your index finger). Simply follow the line of text as you read along. This may be slower than regular reading at first, but after you get used to the motion you will be able to read more effectively.
2. Know When to Slow Down
The key to speed reading is having control, not just speed. If you simply dash through a book, chances are you won’t remember the material. While it’s easier to skim through a text that has low information density, it’s important to take your time with the confusing parts. You will waste more time if you speed through the material because chances are you’ll end up having to revisit areas you neglected.
3. Glance at the Structure
Take a step back and look at the material’s structure before diving straight into the content. This includes skimming information to get a feel for the layout, looking for bolded words, reading headings, and looking for ways in which the author transitions to new topics.
4. Alter Your Perspective
I know this sounds nearly impossible, especially for boring subjects that seem like a chore to get through. But it’s not. Try to keep an open mind and ask yourself, “What can I gain from this text?” If you approach the material with a broadened perspective, it will probably make the process a little more enjoyable. Let’s face it- either way, the reading has to get done, otherwise you wouldn’t be forcing yourself to get through it. Why not try to gain something valuable out of it, even if this means merely expanding your vocabulary?
5. Practice, Practice, Practice
The best way to improve in anything is to practice! One of the most important techniques of speed-reading is to simply read more. Studies have shown that if you read at least one book per week, your reading rate will improve greatly! This is especially true for readers engaging with a text that is not of their primary language. Moreover, whenever you encounter words you do not recognize, take the time to look them up. While this will take more time in the beginning, it will increase your speed in the long run.
If you feel you need more engagement, you can improve your productivity and reading comprehension skills by taking our Merrill Ream Speed-Reading course. Our course provides innovative practice skills and techniques that have already benefited thousands of students. Check it out along with our encouraging reviews!